DescriptionDIEGO RIVERA (Mexican 1886-1957)
Ink on paper
10.25in. x 15in.
Signed lower right: Diego Rivera
Provenance: from the artist to Mr. Robert Foster; the estate of Mr. Robert Foster; Mr. Robert Foster was an art student in Guadalajara in 1946 and was given the drawing as a gift from the artist.
Considered to be Mexico's greatest painters of the 20th century, Diego Rivera's artwork of the working class had profound impact on the international art world. Among his many contributions, Rivera is credited with the reintroduction of fresco painting into modern art and architecture. His radical political views and tumultuous romance with surrealist painter Frieda Kahlo were a source of public intrigue, which still remains to this day. During his visits to America between 1930 and 1940, Rivera brought his unique artistic vision to public spaces and galleries, which inspired generations of American artists.
Rivera was born in Guanajuato, Mexico in 1886. He began to study painting at an early age and in 1907 moved to Europe. Spending most of the next 14 years in Paris, Rivera encountered the works of such great French masters as Cézanne, Gauguin, Renoir, and Matisse, as well as the Renaissance frescos of Italy. Rivera returned to Mexico where he began painting frescos for universities and public buildings. A life-long Marxist, Rivera's large, public frescos brought art to the common man -- circumventing the elite walls of galleries and museums. Throughout the 1920s his fame grew with a number of large murals depicting scenes from Mexican history, technology, and progress.
In 1930, Rivera made the first of a series of trips to the United States that would alter the course of American painting. In November of that year, Rivera began work on the first of two major American commissions for the American Stock Exchange Luncheon Club and for the California School of Fine Arts. With these commissions, and all of the American murals to follow, Rivera explored and depicted the struggles of the working class. In 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, Rivera went to Detroit to paint a mural for the Detroit Institute of Arts commissioned by Henry Ford. In 1933 the Rockefellers commissioned Rivera to paint a mural for the lobby of the RCA building in Rockefeller Center.
Throughout his career, Rivera remained an important figure in the development of a national art in Mexico. Perhaps one his greatest legacies, however, was his impact on America's conception of public art. In depicting scenes of American life on public buildings, Rivera provided the inspiration for Franklin D. Roosevelt's WPA program. Of the hundreds of American artists who were employed through the WPA, many continued to address political concerns and struggles of the common laborer that had first been publicly presented by Rivera.
Condition report available upon request.
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